ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Nature, Liberalism and Visions of an ecologically sustainable society

Marius De Geus
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Marius De Geus
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Open Panel

Abstract

In earlier work I have concentrated on different types of liberalism (c.q. the visions of John Locke and John Stuart Mill) and how their notions of nature and concepts of liberty are interrelated. Evidently, their notions of nature have far reaching consequences for their political philosophies and the overall compatibility of their liberal ideas with environmentalist goals. Similarly, philosophers like Hobbes, Rousseau, Kropotkin, Thoreau and Morris have focused on analyzing the role of nature in relation to political institutions in the Western world. The goal of my paper is to explore and clarify the visions of prominent political theorists like Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Kropotkin, Thoreau and Morris concerning nature on the arrangement of society and construction of western political institutions. The central question will be: what can be learned from theorists from Hobbes to Morris concerning their specific conceptions of nature and the resulting perspectives on society and political institutions? Special attention will be paid to the impact of their implicit and explicit views on nature on their political thinking and the realization of an ecologically sustainable society. After studying different perspectives on nature, the focus will be on the implications for the conceptualization of politics in the different political philosophies of the theorists involved. Apart from this, their visions of nature will be a starting point for investigating predominant (liberal) concepts of politics and the natural environment. Significantly, alternative visions on the link between conceptions of nature and the political sphere will be used in order to develop innovative political theories in which environmental and ecological considerations play a significant role.